Sunday, August 15, 2010

Critter tales


Lots of these this year. They must love the heat because they sing from morning till night, even well into the evening.

Here's one resting on the deck. I'd seen the harlequin markings on their back before, didn't notice their green eyes.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar

I'd posted previously about the cat on the potted dill. Imagine my delight to find this cat on the carrots back in the veg bed. It was chomping away like crazy.

And the cat on the dill was still chowing down at a good clip.

I checked both of them Friday morning and then went inside to process a big pile of tomatoes. When I took a break about 2 hours later, neither of these dears where to be seen.

There was, however, a very noisy blue jay squawking up a storm. I hope the cat gave him a bellyache.

RIP guys. Circle of life.... *sigh*

Unknown moth

I have no clue what kind of moth this is except that it is BIG! I'll bet it was almost 3" long.

Very impressive. It's resting on my butterfly net that I leaned against the garage under the night light. He didn't stay long once the sun came up.

I hope he just flew away, and didn't end up like the swallowtail cats.


I have quite a few toads this season. Since it's hot every day and every night, I don't close the garage door all the way to the floor at night. I leave a 3-4" gap. That way, when day is breaking, some toads can come into the garage and spend the day in dark cool concrete corners.

Once I closed the door all the way one evening and next morning when I opened it, a toad suddenly appeared from the dark recesses, hopped past me toward the door, gave me a look, and continued on outside to spend time under the deck.

Well, excuse moi!

Empty butterfly wings

I'm seeing a lot of this lately. Empty tiger swallowtail and monarch wings. And I know what is happening.

One day I watched a swallowtail plummet to the ground and thrash around. I hurried and picked it up, wanting to put it back on the butterfly bush. But it's wings were fully deployed in a downward stroke.

I gently pried them apart and gasped. There was a large bald-faced hornet attacking the butterfly. I flicked it off (stupid? yeah, probably), tossed the butterfly into the air and I made a quick exit from the location. But the hornets are having their way with the butterflies and I see signs of carnage all the time. I ache for something so beautiful being brutally attacked and eaten. Hey hornets - pick on something your own size - like carpenter bees! Get a REAL fight! Friggin' bullies!

Red tailed hawk

This is not the best shot (my camera is weenie) of the resident red tail. I watched her just a couple of hours ago suddenly hop up on one of the full compost bins and make like an eagle on a gold coin. Full spread wings, shoulders back. She posed there for a good 5 minutes.

At first I thought she might be sunning herself after a bath, but she didn't look wet, nor were there any droplets when I rushed back to look after you finally flew off. Go figure.

Anyway, you just never know what kind of crawly, creeper, climbers, flyer or flutterer will visit the gardens in any given day. It's like watching a really good soap opera.

Without commercials!

(Use links on top of sidebar to view additional garden posts.)


  1. What awesome critters in your yard. I like the hawk hanging out. How incredibly awesome. I've never seen a cicada in my backyard, but I know there are there because I hear them all the time.

  2. I have never known that some of them shed their wings. That is interesting.

  3. Larry, if you're talking about the butterfly wings, they are not shed. The hornet ATE the butterfly and left the wings....

  4. Loads of wildlife! And that's what cicadas look like! We heard them a lot in the pine trees in France, but could never see one.

  5. Good shots of the critters. Jilda spotted a praying mantis (?) yesterday.

  6. interesant blog,felicitarii


Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your notes, comments and questions and will try to reply to each one! :-)